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Article: Alan Towe's The Line - 23rd April 2021

Alan Towe's The Line - 23rd April 2021

During lockdown and over the past couple of months the United Kingdom Darts Association have played two online charity matches the first of which saw a Johnny Stefano (Chairman) team take on a Colin Savage (Chief Executive Officer) team.

Opening proceedings for the Stefano team was young Henry Coates who took leads of 1-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 to beat his Team Savage opponent Ray Marshall 5-3. Stefano’s lead was short lived though as Mike Norton accounted for Micky Reed (5-1), Ian McFarlane beat John Williams-Jones (5-4) and McFarlane’s Warwickshire team-mate Natalie Gilbert won to take the lead to 3-1. Gilbert actually fell behind twice to Debra Watling as Watling won the opener and then the third leg after Gilbert had won the second. The fourth leg could easily have gone either way but it was Natalie Gilbert who won it to take the lead for the first time in the game. Gilbert then went further ahead when she won the fifth in 16 darts and rounded off a very tidy 4-2 victory when she won the sixth leg with her opponent on double five.

James Hurrell won 5-1 against Paul Hogan to extend the Team Savage lead to 4-1 before Team Stefano won three in a row to level at four each. Pete Allen kicked off the trio of wins when he with a last leg victory over namesake Anthony Allen won 5-4. Reducing the arrears even further with a fantastic 4-2 victory over Anastasia Dobromyslova was Rhian O’Sullivan. Dobromyslova apart from wins in the second and fifth legs she was never on par with her opponent Rhian O’Sullivan who was in top form winning 4-2 in 17, 20, 21 and 14 darts for a superb 27.70 average. Rhian’s final leg saw her line herself up for a perfect nine darts leg as she kicked off with two magnificent consecutive maximums. Unfortunately the 141 checkout was not to be and she eventually won the leg in 14 darts. Then, restoring parity in the eighth encounter was Ritchie Howson who was in outstanding form against Andy Alker. The game was nip and tuck all the way with Howson taking the lead no fewer than four times before he went on to win the ninth and deciding leg. He won the first leg in 17 darts but lost the second having only 9 darts as Alker shot out in just 12. A 110 outshot gave Howson a 2-1 advantage only to see Alker draw level for a second time with a 20 darts leg. Howson won the fifth in 15 darts and Alker the sixth in 18. Another ton plus finish in the seventh, this time 127 gave Howson his fourth lead but again never-say-die Alker replied with an 18 darts leg and 91 finish to force a deciding leg. In the very last leg Howson chalked up scores of 100, 140, 140 and checked out on 121 for an impressive twelve darts winning leg with Alker, after only nine darts left nursing 136. Howson’s superb performance gave him the best average of the match a tremendous 31.13 with Alker recording 29.45.

With the overall score standing at 4-4 it was the Savage team that went ahead for a second time as Carl Hamilton won 5-3 against Daz Layden after Layden had won the opening leg, the lead was extended to 6-4 when Laura Turner beat Donna Gleed. Turner was first off the mark winning the first leg and then the third after Donna Gleed had won the second. In the fourth leg Gleed produced a fantastic 117 game shot to square the game and then went ahead with a win in the fifth, unfortunately it was not enough as Laura Turner fought back with a 19 darts leveller and then a win in the final leg for a very close 4-3 win.

David Wawrzeski (Team Savage) found himself 2-0 down to Paul Marsh after Marsh had won the first two legs in 21 and 20 darts. A 116 finish in the third leg helped Wawrzeski keep in the game and with a 13 darts leg in the fourth had fought back to level terms. With two 17 darts legs Marsh opened up a second two legs lead but he was unable to find the elusive fifth and winning leg as Wawrzeski rounded off a 5-4 victory with three wins in a row recording legs of 16, 17 and 19 darts to leave his team Stefano trailing by just one game with only one left to play.

The final game was between Conan Whitehead (Stefano) and Dafydd Edwards (Savage). Whitehead went two up in 19 and 18 darts and although Edwards pulled one back in the third with a 13 darts leg his opponent restored his two legs buffer with an 18 darts win in the fourth. Edwards kept his hopes alive with a 15 darts win in the fifth but it was Whitehead who got the 5-2 win when he added 10 and 18 darts wins in the final two games to take the final score to six each, a match that raised a fantastic amount of £1,175 for the UKDA charity partners, Mind and the Ben Cohen Stand-Up Foundation.

Following the charity match there were various comments from organisers and players.

Colin Savage (Chief Executive Officer) said

Well where do I start??? a fantastic evening and night of darts in aid of two fantastic charities.

Final result was Team Stefano 6 Team Savage 6.

A very fair result in the end and a fantastic standard all evening.

We are very proud to have been able to bring this to you this evening, and a huge credit must go to McEvoy Darts Streaming for making it possible.

A huge thank you to each and every player involved, for your efforts and your donations, to every member of the management team that was involved and to everyone who watched honestly I can’t thank you all enough. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.

To have raised over £1000 pounds this evening for two very worthy causes, in such difficult times, my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you who donated.

Please keep an eye on our various social media pages over the coming days as there will be a live draw for prizes.

Tonight, seeing the banter and support the players were giving each other behind the scenes, hits home just how important it was to preserve the biggest dart league in the world and I look forward with even more optimism to the UKDA National league starting and seeing that spirit the length and breadth of the country.

The UKDA are nothing without its members, and you will always be at the forefront of our planning as an organisation.

Once again my heartfelt gratitude to all

Colin Savage



The following is a report and comments from players submitted very kindly by Dave Vanderson.

London’s Conan Whitehead sealed a vital 5-2 victory over Clwyd’s Dafydd Edwards in the final game of the UKDA Challenge Charity Match to snatch a draw for Team Stefano against Team Savage, the sum of £1,175 was raised for our charity partners, Mind and the Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation.

A number of well-known players within the grass-roots game gave up their time, to play in a very closely contested event with both charities being the ultimate winners, as the sole purpose of the match was to raise much needed funds for our partners.

Players from across our National League system played in both teams, with young sensation Henry Coates (Derbyshire) showing his huge potential, with an outstanding victory in the opening match against Ray Marshall ( Tyne & Wear).

Pete Allen (Kent), Rhian O’Sullivan (Glamorgan), Ritchie Howson (Essex), David Wawrzeski (London) joined Whitehead and Coates in winning points for Team Stefano, whilst Team Savage’s points came from Mike Norton (West of England), Ian McFarlane (Warwickshire), Natalie Gilbert (Warwickshire), James Hurrell (Gloucestershire), Carl Hamilton (Yorkshire) and Laura Turner (Surrey).

Both Johnny Stefano and Colin Savage wish to thank the players that took part in the event, McEvoy Darts Streaming for the first class streaming service and commentary, and to Dave Vanderson for his hard work during the day keeping Facebook updated and collating the stats, and a huge thank you from all of team at the UKDA to all those that generously donated to two great causes and made the day a great success that it was.

Mike Norton (West of England Chairman)

Good morning everyone.

Yesterday I had the absolute privilege of representing the West of England in the very first ever UKDA organised event, a charity match between the UKDA’s CEO Colin Savage and Chairman Johnny Stefano teams selected from all across the UK.

The match was live-streamed on You Tube via McAvoy Darts Streaming,

It ended 6-6 which obviously was the perfect result for two teams raising money for the charity partners, over £1000 was donated during the day/evening

Yesterday I had the pleasure of playing, chatting, laughing and general meeting some of the best players across the UK, my reason for this post is the following.

Can we all remember the last 18 months, when we as a county like most counties were in limbo, and wasn’t quite sure what direction we were going, with voting, discussion, debates, etc, etc we voted a new committee, we voted to join the UKDA, in general, we like everyone else put our trust in what then, was just another organisation trying to take over the very fast dwindling BDO.

After 12 months of no darts, no fixtures, and a global pandemic, we at last might get a chance later in the year to get back to some kind of normality. My reason for this post is to assure our members in what we voted for.

I have communicated with the chairman Johnny Stefano pretty much on a monthly basis, asked a million questions and got the answers, yesterday I played a few practice games with the CEO Colin Savage and had a great chat about lots of things,

My overall opinion on how we voted last year has been totally justified, the UKDA and there management have gone above and beyond what we expected, they are very open about everything they do, willing to discuss anything about any subject, I think personally we have made a great decision to join the UKDA.

I’m sure everyone is itching to get back to super league and county darts I just wanted to assure you we are in very good hands, and we have a lot to look forward to.

Myself, Chris Wassell, and Emma Smythe have not been sat on our hands, we have everything completely ready for when we start again, hopefully not too much longer,

West of England Darts are looking forward to exciting times

Ritchie Howson Wrote:-

I was asked by Johnny Stefano to play on his team for the UKDA Charity match on 20th Feb. I was honoured to be asked as the standard of players was first class.

I was drawn against Andy Alker on Colin Savages team, a great player and I knew it would be a tough game, we were scheduled to play at 7.30 so I prepared the best I could and waited with anticipation...we were 4-3 down before our match so it was imperative to try and get the win to square things was a fantastic game between Andy and myself and after 8 legs we found ourselves 4-4...Luckily I had the darts in the last leg and with Andy scoring like a trooper behind me I managed to finish with a 12 dart leg to seal the win.

I can honestly say I was as nervous as I've ever been playing a match and it was a fantastic day and shows what the UKDA are all about for us players, plenty of money raised and a privilege to of taken part.

Henry Coates Wrote:-

It was an honour to be picked as one of the younger players and proud to have played well against a good opponent I think the UKDA has some great ideas and opportunities going forward and can’t wait to get the new season started and at the end of all this it was the charity that came out on top with a lot of money going to a great cause

Rhian O'Sullivan Wrote:-

I was thrilled to be asked to be involved in the charity match that the UKDA was organising and it was something to look forward to and practice towards.

When the draw came out I was excited and a little apprehensive about playing Anastasia Dobromyslova as we have had a few battles, mostly with her winning so I was expecting a hard match. I thought it was a high quality game considering the circumstances. I was very nervous and I was very happy it didn't affect my throwing,
That last leg where I had two 180s and sitting on a 9 darter was a new experience for me only once before in a county match have I ever done this, outside of practicing, but it wasn't to be I narrowly missed the fourth treble and that was that.

I was ecstatic to have been involved in such a high quality match and evening, with great darts played by all involved. Also the information and organisation given by those at the top with UKDA made the night flow and not having to worry about what was happening was a load off my mind.

I'm looking forward to play any more on line competitions hosted by the UKDA if they are thinking of this, I'm sure people will be eager to get involved as they did such a good job on the charity match which raised a lot of money for great causes and I was very proud to be involved in the event.

Paul Hogan Wrote:-

I really enjoyed playing in the charity event, but like most darts players I am missing playing face to face, I am looking forward to hopefully getting back to playing county darts in September under the UKDA's National League. I think at the moment it's what grass-root darts needs with the demise of the BDO.

Dart players just want to play darts and the UKDA are enabling players to do so.

Ian McFarlane Wrote:-

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the team at the UKDA to thank all the players that participated in this event and made it the success that it was and also a huge thank you to all the people who took the time to drop in and watch and everyone that donated to raise such a fantastic amount of money for both the charities.

The second of the charity matches brought together representative teams for Commercial Director Claire Stamper (Team Stamper) and National League Director Paul Marsh (Team Swampy).

Team Stamper stormed into a commanding 7-0 lead all begun with a 2-0 win for Kai Tiffen over Harry Rawson-Lee. Then came three 5-2 wins as Graham Usher beat Sam Cankett, Chris Hurds won against Dave Ladley and Will Harwood accounted for Wayne Gleed. Liam Kelly (31.43) was a 5-3 winner against Kev Naughton before Lauren Stokoe beat Tricia Wright 4-3.

Rounding off the 7-0 advantage was Richard Selby who accounted for Nathan Care with a 5-1 margin. Graham Usher turned out to be the man of the match with a tremendous 32.51 average against Sam Cankett, winning in 15,11,14,18 and 16 darts.

Amy Evans earned Team Swampy their first stripe as she chalked up a straight 4-0 win over Eleanor Cairns only to see a 5-1 win for Colin Osborne (31.22) against John O’Shea restore the seven games advantage for Team Stamper.

From 7-1 up it was then one-way traffic for Team Swampy as Louise Pearson won 4-3 against Tracey Davies, Steve Maish beat Lee Cocks 5-4, Brad Phillips had a 5-3 win over Jack Male and rounding off the proceedings Rob Rickwood defeated Barry Davies 5-0 to take the final score to 8-5 in favour of Team Stamper, a much closer result than what was expected after the opening seven games.

The match raised another fabulous amount of £423, which similar to the previous amount raised in the first match will go to the UKDA charity partners, Mind and the Ben Cohen Stand-Up Foundation.

The UKDA have contacted all National Teams regarding the forthcoming season and hotel bookings, issuing them with a brochure and saying, Please find attached the Recommended Partner Hotels for each National League Team.

Our commercial team have worked on these deals for the past 5 months and you should find the best hotel deals around the areas.

Most of these include breakfast, free room for coach driver(dependant on min number of rooms booked) and free parking.

All of the hotels in the brochure are quite flexible with payment terms etc.

Please e mail your provisional bookings ASAP.

Lainey Webb (Hotels & Transport Secretary Cheshire Darts Organisation) responded with, I would like to say a massive thank you to Claire Stamper at UKDA. At Cheshire Darts we have previously shopped around, looking finding hotels, constant emails, phone calls etc. In the previous years, I’ve looked myself, and used companies to secure our hotel accommodation. This time, I browsed through the UKDA partner hotels list, and county venues, and could see that the hotels listed were at a good location. We had stopped in a few of the hotels previously, and have to say that we paid more than quoted by UKDA.

Anyway, so long and short of it, we’ve booked our away hotels, through UKDA, for me it was 1 email to Claire to say what I wanted, and within 24 hours, I had quotes back. And have just confirmed our reservations, with no fuss.... I fully recommend their partner programme.

The affiliation between the United Kingdom Darts Association and the Darts Regulation Authority (DRA) was announced in the following press release

UKDA Affiliation

The United Kingdom Darts Association have announced the following National League fixtures for the forthcoming 2021-22 season,

UKDA Fixture List 1 UKDA Fixture List 2

UKDA Fixture List 3

UKDA Fixture List 4

UKDA Fixture List 5

On the 5th March the United Kingdom Darts Association re-launched the UKDA Challenge Lobby, (powered by DartConnect) in which members will be able to SIGN UP for FREE and PLAY for FREE every Monday and Friday between 7pm and 11pm against team mates, fellow UKDA members and affiliates.

Would be players can sign up to play in the lobby by visiting

The Midlands have lost another couple of notable players, namely Joe Biggs (West Midlands) and Pat Thornton (Warwickshire).

The two players have been acknowledged by their respective team players

Joe Biggs

Robert MacDougall

Just had the news that ex West Midlands County player and a true Legend Joe Biggs passed away Saturday morning. RIP Joe.

Claire Ford wrote R.I.P Joe Biggs what a legend county darts was the best when you was around the laughter just flowed all day with your antics, singing and you just being you.... what lovely memories you have left us all with.

Neil Pritchard

Gentleman Joe. RIP Joe.

John Platt

Rip Joe great darter.

Alan Bradburn

Great man my doubles partner R.I.P Joe, condolences to family.

Wayne Harrison

RIP Joe played county with him for years top man great player and good friend our thoughts are with your family.

Peter Robbins

God bless you Joe thank you for the memories mate may you forever RIP.

Danny Coyle

R.I.P Joe, condolences to Cliff and the family.

Michael Webster

played for us at the chase club for a few seasons cracking player you had to be on top of your game to beat him that’s for sure RIP Joe m8 thinking of the family.

Pat Thornton

Warwickshire County

March 12, 2021 by The Big Fella

The County were once again in mourning today upon the news that their former player and supporter Pat Thornton had passed away early this morning.

Pat started playing for the Bears in the early 90s and despite a break in her career of five or so years she returned in the early noughties where she became a mainstay of the side until her retirement from playing in 2007.

In the years after Pat became a great supporter of the County along with other former players.

The County wishes to extend their deepest sympathies to Pats Family at this very sad time.

Pat Thornton RIP.

Nanette Beaton

So very sad such a lovely lady I loved Pat. May she RIP xx.

Sue Derry

Lovely lady, rest in peace Pat x.

Melanie Jones

RIP Pat! Such sad news, she will be sorely missed!

Lesley Newcombe

Rip Pat, many a good game x.

Marian Conway

Lovely lady, RIP Pat xxx.

Carol Weston

So sorry lovely lady x.

Kevin Dowling

Sad news, Pat was a lovely lady, RIP.

Mark Strong

RIP Pat, you will be sadly missed by all that new you, fantastic lady x.

Tony Brown

Pat was such a kindly lady, always had a smile R I P xx.

In addition to the two players darts has lost another stalwart in the shape of Roy Cooper who was the steward of The Royal, Albrighton, Shropshire’s county venue.

Roy Cooper

Simon Pritchard

We are heartbroken to announce the passing of Roy Cooper (Chelsea Roy). The beloved Steward of our County Venue The Royal, Albrighton. Nothing was too much trouble for this lovely man. He will be sorely missed by everyone at Shropshire Darts. Thinking of his family & many friends at this sad time.

R.I.P. Roy....You will never be forgotten

Dennis Walton

I am for one along with all members of the Shropshire Darts national league squads and committee so sorry to lose Chelsea Roy our beloved steward at the Royal he will missed by all that knew him his friends family and all at Shropshire he will be forever a honoury member of our family within Shropshire national league darts for his service and devotion to the cause he will be missed but never ever forgotten by everyone.

Keep pulling those pints up there with our cal I know you will both be looking down on us fondly at this time and always

Dennis mc/referee Shropshire National League organisation.

Rest in peace and many, many condolences Chelsea Roy

Marie Riggs

R I P ROY thought are with his family xx

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